Patterns of Union-Management Relations: United Automobile Workers (CIO), General Motors, Studebaker

By Frederick H. Harbison; Robert Dubin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
The Nature and Scope of Constructive Union-Management Relations

THE Studebaker case represents a practical working model of what we term "constructive union-management relations." Such relations are achieved when a union and a company harmonize divergent goals into an effective working agreement. Constructive relations do not mean the absence of actual or potential conflict; they do not imply that labor and management have common goals. With constructive union-management relations both parties find in collective bargaining a means of at least partial achievement of their respective goals. Agreements arrived at in this kind of union-management relationship are generally consistent with the broad interests of the community and the nation.1

A significant aspect of constructive union-management relations is the ability to harmonize divergent goals and achieve an effective basis for working agreements. Employees as a group are not immediately interested in company profits as such. Business management is not primarily interested in the security of its workers as such. Each group looks at a business enterprise in terms of what

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1
It is important to point out that collaboration between companies and unions has resulted in some cases in collusive agreements made at the public's expense. There has sometimes been a harmonizing of divergent goals in some union-management relations which have bordered on racketeering. Naturally, such relationships could not be called "constructive" as we have used the term here.

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